Philosophy of Intercultural Education

Because the ability to live and work in the intercultural context of a global society will be the single most important skill to have in the twenty-first century, Gustavus Adolphus College is committed to providing every student with substantive opportunities for intercultural learning and culturally aware self-reflection.

We understand "intercultural" to encompass much more than just the differences one finds on either side of international borders. Indeed, in order to be interculturally competent, one must learn how to value diversity and cooperation and to acknowledge that there are many different ways of knowing. Intercuturally sophisticated professionals understand the richness of cultural identities (even within each nation-state); the complexities of religious and spiritual experience, economics, gender and sexual identities, ability and disability, and race and ethnicity; the nuances of political, social, and cultural power; and the interdependent and still specific histories of many peoples, which have given rise to vastly differing worldviews. Our goal is to create an environment in which we can foster a core set of intercultural competencies that our graduates will be able to use in a world that is changing more and more rapidly.

To achieve these goals, the Center for International and Cultural Education (CICE) staff works with the members of the Global Engagement Committee (GEC), as well as with other community members, in pursuing a vigorous program of interculturalization that includes attention to our intercultural contexts in on-campus courses, an integrated student life program, a robust and diverse community that includes international and intercultural students and scholars, and deeply intercultural learning experiences provided away from the College campus.